GSD alum proposal shortlisted for Urban Urge Awards

The interdisciplinary team composed of Judith Rodríguez (MLA/MAUD ’13), research associate for the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure, and Abner L. Calixter, research associate for GSD Exuma, was selected finalist for the Mojdeh Baratloo Urban Urge Awards 2014 for their proposal titled “CAJU – Refresca São Paulo.” 

From the perspective of disproportionate climate change impacts towards disfranchised communities in developing countries, the climate-minded team developed a proposal that was acknowledged by the jury and shortlisted as finalist amongst entries from 14 countries and 6 continents that offered compelling ideas to have a realized impact in urban communities and environments. The jury that includes Bjarke Ingels (BIG), Casey Jones (TBC), Margaret Newman (Municipal Arts Society), David van der Leer (Van Alen Institute) and Mabel O. Wilson (Columbia GSAPP), will select the final award winners in September.

The proposal conceived as “CAJU (Climate Adaptive Just Urbanism) – Refresca São Paulo” intends to implement on the ground ideas to fight against heat stresses and morbidity of vulnerable communities in the favelas of São Paulo, Brazil. The low-tech and affordable proposal ‘Refresca São Paulo’ tackles water security and recreation by helping qualify the community of Paraísopolis to capture rainwater for domestic non-potable uses, to establish staple tropical fruits vertical gardens, and to profit from recreational water use. This initiative is envisioned to make a splash during the hottest month in a grand community inflatable pool day event that would transform public space with harvested rain, bring public awareness and test its impact on the ground. Crowdfunding will also be implemented to benefit from larger rain shed impact in Paraísopolis.

The award foresees a creative intervention that enhances urban resilience by using multidisciplinary perspectives and sustainable creativity. The Urban Urge Awards honor the legacy of architect, educator, community advocate and urban designer Mojdeh (Moji) Baratloo (1954-2013). Throughout her career she advocated, “Once people know how important their environment is, they can make it better.”

The Urban Urge Awards program will culminate in an exhibition of the finalists and presentation of the winning realized projects in 2015.